India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Israel

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to visit Israel later this year in what will be the first official visit by an Indian premier.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Israel later this year, Sushma Swaraj, the country’s external affairs minister, confirmed on Sunday.

“The time and date has not been finalized yet,” Swaraj said.

Israeli ambassador to India Daniel Carmon welcomed the announcement. “High level visits between both countries…are a natural ingredient of tightening relationship between Israel and India,” he was quoted by The Hindu as saying.

This will be the first official visit by an Indian prime minister to Israel. A visit by an Indian delegation in July may precede the premier’s visit, BBC reports.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly extended an invitation to Modi in April.

Prospering Israel-India ties

Netanyahu and Modi

PM Netanyahu and PM Modi meet in NY. (Avi Ohayon/GPO)

Israel and India have recently engaged in a process of strengthening their ties. Both leaders met this past September in New York, the first such meeting in a decade, where they agreed to boost their collaboration, especially in the fields of agriculture, water technology and defense.

“We’re very excited by the prospects of greater and greater ties with India. We think the sky is the limit,” Netanyahu stated.

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Israel and India, which have held full official diplomatic relations for the past 23 years, enjoy the sharing of technological development, and India is one of Israel’s biggest clients in the defense technologies market. In 2013, India was Israel’s 10th-largest trading partner and its third-largest in Asia, after China and Hong Kong.

Israel won a big defense contract when India’s Defense Ministry decided in October to acquire an Israeli-made anti-tank rocket, choosing it over a similar, US-made missile.